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« Smithtown's Lee Certilman Named Chair Of Greater NY Auto Dealers Association | Main | People In The News - Luke Bergaglio First KP Student To Make All-National Ensemble »
Thursday
Oct052017

People In The News - Kristen Slevin For Smithtown Town Supervisor

By Stacey Altherr

It wasn’t until Kristen Slevin and her husband opened their own business in March 2016, a chocolate and candy shop off Main Street in Smithtown, that she realized she may have taken an even bigger risk than she had thought.

“From the first day of my store opening, every single customer asked me ‘Are you going to make it?’ ” Slevin said. “They were so concerned because they have seen so many businesses open and close.”

Interest piqued, she started to watch the town board meetings online and was amazed at what she saw; work sessions without agendas, votes without any discussions, and other dynamics within the board that seemed not very conducive to public participation.

“It was all around just lax,” she said, “The downtown revitalization, revamping the animal shelter, the marina and boat slip issues… They are all important things, but I am looking more at it from a foundation issue.”

She points to the town codes, which are either antiquated or so poorly written that residents couldn’t even figure out how to follow the town’s own rules, she said.

“It’s kind of like working in a business and not have an employee manual,” Slevin said.

As more people approached her, she got more interested in the idea of someone outside the usual political circles running for the top post of town supervisor.  

“I was not my first choice,” she said. “I asked at least a dozen people – attorneys, teachers.” But others convinced her to run.

Slevin needed 1,500 signatures to get on the ballot, and she was able to get 1,781; some from volunteers who went door-to-door and other signatures from a petition at her shop. She is funding this run with $1,000 of her own money, will not be fundraising or handing out yard signs, she said. She is running on the ballot without any party affiliation. Her slogan on her Facebook page is “None of the Above.”

Slevin has no political experience, but has worked in corporate jobs most of her life before opening Yottabytes (Yotta is the largest decimal unit prefix in the metric system) with her husband Brian Medeiros. They have a son, Luke, 22 months old, and Slevin has a daughter from a previous marriage, Mailyn Colletta, 12. Slevin grew up in Hauppauge, graduating from the high school there in 1994.  She attended SUNY Oswego but never finished (“My biggest regret,” she said), but was active in clubs. 

She was president of her school’s National Panhellenic Society, an umbrella group for college sororities.  In high school, she was active in student council and was an officer in the Future Business Leaders of America organization.

Slevin said her volunteers, who span across all parties, have been maligned by some for taking votes away from the party’s candidates, but that the party leaders themselves have been neutral. In particular, fellow candidate Republican Edward Werheim has admonished those who publicly malign her for running for the seat.

If she wins, she is prepared to run the town, she said. Slevin points to a You Tube video online where the current town supervisor who has held the seat consecutively for 40 years, Patrick Vecchio, says in an interview that he had no political experience when he took on the job. 

“He’s my hero,” Slevin said. “He was a total outsider.”

Slevin knows she is a longshot to beat out two heavily politically connected candidates, but sees this as an opportunity to voice the concerns of those who visit her chocolate shop.

“I always planned this with the [thought] that I won’t win,” Slevin said. “I am prepared to win. But if I don’t, it’s not about who does but that something gets done.”

“Whoever wins, wins. It’s about making the town a better place.”

Stacey Altherr is a former Newsday reporter now living in Sarsasota, Florida. Her beats included Smithtown, where she covered governmental affairs.  She now runs a café in Longboat Key near her home and writes freelance. Altherr has won many awards, including a 2010 Society of Silurian Award for community service journalism for a multi-part series, “Heroin Hits Main Street,” and a third-place National Headliner Award for public service for a multi-part year-long investigation on spending at fire districts on Long Island.

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